Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

7 Lies about ‘Who You Are’ That Are Destroying You 

  • Daniel Im Author
  • 2020 5 Feb
7 Lies about ‘Who You Are’ That Are Destroying You 

In our culture today, doing has become a badge of honor. It’s become a status symbol and the way to define ourselves.  

We’ve come to believe that our worth, identity and value are tied to what we do

It’s not true, though. It doesn’t align with the way that God defines us in His Word. 

In fact, “you are what you do” is just one of seven lies we’ve come to embrace about who we are. 

Why are we so quick to abandon the truth and when did we become susceptible to this particular type of deception? 

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  • Enter the Side Hustle and Its Deceptions

    Enter the Side Hustle and Its Deceptions

    We can thank our new “normal”—the gig economy in which we live—for enticing us with this new set of lies. 

    There’s no doubt you’re familiar with the idea of having a side hustle or participating in the “gig economy.” 

    In fact, you or a friend or family member may have a job on the side to help make ends meet or to save for a special purchase.

    In 2019, 35% of the American workforce was a part of the gig economy, up from five years prior. That means 57 million Americans were self-employed in a part-time or full-time capacity getting paid for their time, skills, possessions or expertise. In addition, 68 percent of all gig workers surveyed joined the gig economy in the last five years. 

    This gig economy in which we work has actually permeated every facet of our culture—not just the labor force or economics. It’s changing the way we live everyday life because it carries a strong underlying message that makes promises, which are deceptively destructive:  

    Freedom. Flexibility. Control. More money for the future. Unlimited possibilities. 

    Achieve the “American Dream.”

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages

  • Enter the Side Hustle and Its Deceptions

    There’s Danger in Aligning Our Identity with Lies

    On the surface, these lies seem benign. After all, they are connected to virtues such as working hard, achieving educational success and raising children. 

    Upon closer inspection, however, we see the danger of aligning our identity to these ideas. They distort the truth of who God says we are in Christ.  

    Our sense of meaning and significance has become tied to our experiences, our relationships, our knowledge, our stuff, our children and our past.  

    Continuing to embrace and live out these seven lies can have dangerous consequences.  

    Let’s look at how Jesus offers truths that refutes these destructive 7 lies:

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

  • Enter the Side Hustle and Its Deceptions

    Lie #1 - You Are What You Do

    As children, we’re asked what we want to do when we grow up. As adults, we’re asked what we do for work. And at the end of our lives, we’re measured by what we’ve done. 

    It’s not surprising, then, that we believe the lie that we are what we do. But there’s no end to a life of doing. Doing does not result in done. It only leads to more doing. In fact, there is no badge of honor in a life of doing—only exhaustion and despair.

    Lie #2 - You Are What You Experience

    Experiences have become the new currency. Amassing stuff and getting things aren’t as valuable anymore. And even when we buy those new things, we’re often buying them for the experiences that they'll help create. 

    The problem is that experiences are temporary, and a life driven to get more, do more, and have more experiences will only lead you further down a path that you might already be familiar with—a life of comparison that’s filled with jealousy and envy

    Lie #3 - You Are Who You Know

    This lie that 'you are who you know' is so deceptive. On the surface, while smartphones and the Internet appear to be increasing our connection with one another, they’re actually doing the very opposite. They’re exacerbating the problems of disconnection, isolation, and loneliness. 

    The fact is, we are more disconnected than ever before. And a life built on this lie doesn’t lead to the thing it promises: greater levels of meaningful connection with others. Ironically, it actually produces the exact opposite: isolation.

    Photo Credit: ©Gettyimages/Hoxton

  • Enter the Side Hustle and Its Deceptions

    Lie #4 – You Are What You Know

    Knowledge has the power to shape and form our identities, which is precisely why Thomas Jefferson wanted to freely promote knowledge, while the dictators Hitler and Pol Pot wanted to control and restrict it.  

    While knowledge is definitely valuable, the pursuit of knowledge—over and above everything else—doesn’t ever satisfy. You’ll inevitably meet someone who knows more than you, and it’ll take a lifetime to catch up to them. Or, you’ll be working for someone who doesn’t even know half of what you know, yet they’re making double your salary. 

    Lie #5 - You Are What You Own

    It’s shocking, but the way we spend our money surprisingly reflects what we value, who we think we are, and how we want to appear to others—more than we might be aware of or even be willing to admit. 

    There’s no wonder we believe the lie that we are what we own; our culture has infused status and value into material objects. But when our focus is on the things we own, contentment is as far away as the next undiscovered galaxy in space.

    Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Emma Paillex

  • Enter the Side Hustle and Its Deceptions

    Lie #6 - You Are Who You Raise

    On the surface, believing the lie that you are who you raise doesn’t seem too bad, since involvement in your child’s life is better than neglect. However, underneath the surface, this lie frauds us into believing that our children’s success is our success. And their failure is our failure. 

    But the fact is, no matter what your children accomplish or achieve, it will never satisfy. Nothing they do will ever make you feel whole, fixed or content. They will never be able to cover up the shame from your past because you are not who you raise.

    Lie #7 - You Are Your Past

    Do you see the past in your present? Do you see how the things that you’ve done, and the things that others have done to you, are still affecting you today? In your everyday life? 

    If the answer is yes, then the lie that you are your past has latched onto you as well. Believing in this lie will disable and destroy your future if you find yourself filled with bitterness and unresolved hurt from the past.

    Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Dennis Acevedo

  • Enter the Side Hustle and Its Deceptions

    Freedom Is in the Truth of Who You Really Are

    Living in chains to the seven lies of the gig economy is tiring. It’s a grind and a hustle just trying to keep up. It’s actually a fool’s game because you will never feel caught up.

    So, do yourself a favor and stop believing the lies! 

    But beware this warning. 

    While there is definitely a sense of freedom in knowing what and who you are not, ridding yourself of these seven lies won’t fill you—it’ll just empty you.  

    Unless you replace these lies with the truth of who you really are, you’ll just find another set of lies—even stronger and more destructive—to replace these with. 

    However, when we actively resist these seven lies and instead pursue the truth—the path of following Jesus—we’ll begin experiencing what true freedom and flexibility feel like, which, ironically, is the very thing that our culture falsely promises through these lies.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Diego Cervo

  • Enter the Side Hustle and Its Deceptions

    The Path to Freedom Is through Jesus

    This is why Jesus’s invitation into truth and freedom makes so much sense: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30

    The path to freedom is through Jesus. The way to discover truth is through Jesus.

    When you decide to lay down these seven lies—and any other foundation you have been building your life upon—and instead follow Jesus, your status will change from slave to child. From enslaved to free. From no inheritance to full inheritance. From worker to heir.  

    From being defined by what you do, what you experience, who you know, what you know, what you own, who you raise, and your past, to being defined by what Jesus has done for you.

    Then and only then will you finally find rest from the hustle, grind, and lies of the gig economy.

    Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Iyan Ku


    Daniel Im is an international speaker, leader, consultant, and coach. His podcasts have been downloaded 3 million+ times. He has pastored in major cities around the world in churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people. He paradigm-shifting books include No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry and Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (second edition). He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and is a Gallup Certified Strengths Performance Coach. Daniel lives in Alberta, Edmonton in Canada with his wife Christina and their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi. Check out his latest book: You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love wherever books are sold.